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365 Challenge: Day 221 – Zero

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Zero: the amount of time and words available to spend anywhere but editing today

zero

There are moments in life when you are scrambling to get something done and have zero capacity to focus on anything else. Today is one of those days. I have edits due before midnight to the publisher to re-format Watching Glass Shatter so that it includes all the small issues we’ve collected in the last few weeks. Bad news:  I’ve been editing for 10 hours and have at least 4 more to go. Good news: The final product will be updated and will contain so many great fixes before the printed version. So all my words and attention are focused on that task, leaving me zero seconds for the 365 post. Since I’m dedicated to this blog and won’t fail to post, today, my message is simple:

It’s more than acceptable to just show up sometimes — without anything of value to share or give. A friend may just be happy to see your face and know they have your support.

XOXOXO

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Book Review: Ronaldo – The Reindeer Flying Academy by Maxine Sylvester

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If you’re looking for a new holiday children’s book series, look no further. I read Ronaldo: The Reindeer Flying Academy, the first of three books by Maxine Sylvester, published in 2015. Ronaldo is a hilarious, fun and adorable main character that kids will just love!

ronaldo.jpg

Book Review 
Most of us are familiar with the the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. But what we never knew was how exactly did those reindeer learn how to fly, how many of them exist and what’s life really like for them at the North Pole. Now you can find out… Ronaldo is a hilarious, fun and adorable main character your kids will just love!

I read this adorable story on my iPad via Kindle Reader in one sitting, enjoying the wonderful illustrations (all done by the author herself) with each chapter. I only wished I had read it with one of my younger cousins, nephews or nieces, but it’s the perfect excuse to read it all over again another time. This is the ideal storybook to share as an electronic read, teaching kids how to use an iPad or Kindle while reading a familiar yet much more detailed holiday tradition.

Ronaldo is not just any young reindeer; he’s bound to be a leader of his future pack. What I loved about this story is how detailed the setting and characters are compared to other children’s books. The language is strong and helps teach in a way that doesn’t feel like teaching. It would be a fun treat to read over a couple of night’s around Christmas to kids, switching back and forth between watching cartoon versions of other famous reindeer… helping create a beautiful world around the holiday time.

I look forward to reading books two and three in the next couple of weeks as a way to usher in this year’s holidays!

Website: https://ronaldotheflyingreindeer.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MaxineSylves…
Twitter: @flyingronaldo
Pinterest: https://id.pinterest.com/flyingronaldo/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maxinesylve…

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

 

Book Review: Welcome to Crash by Lina Langley

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I read a book from a new genre for me this week: a combination spec fiction with male for male romance and some sci-fi / fantasy elements. It was quite good and I enjoyed both her writing style and her voice. Stay tuned for a profile on the wonderful Lina Langley in a couple of weeks… thought I’d share the review now to give you a heads up and gain interest for Author Alert Fridays! Check out my review below or on Goodreads.

langley

Book Review
It’s always a gamble when you read a book that might be a bit outside your normal genres, but that wasn’t the case with Lina Langley’s Welcome to Crash. I’ve started reading more in the spec fiction realm, choosing this book based on the cover and a few recommendations from others. I was intrigued by the premise, uncertain how much paranormal, science fiction or fantasy would actually be in it. In the end, that wasn’t the primary point of the story; those elements simply added stronger layers and dimensions to it.

A young guy, Damien, struggles to make a relationship work with his hesitant boyfriend, uncertain if they will end up building something together or splitting apart due to outside circumstances. When he meets a stranger at his job interview, Damien’s thrown off his game, quite smitten, but also confused by John’s style, persona and level of interest. Damien will soon find out as he tries to balance being utterly honest with his boyfriend, Levi, and the growing attraction he has to John.

Just when you think you have it all figured out, the story takes a subtle, then giant, shift away from traditional romance to push you into realizing something different is going on… but readers don’t know at first. Damien suffers from some medical issues, is distant from his family and can’t decide what he wants to do with his life. The book is about his struggle to get through college, become an adult and find love; however, too many forces pull him apart until he has to make a decision about what he really wants for himself and in a potential boyfriend.

This is a psychological book – one where love and desire intermingle with need and reality. Characters are well-drawn; once you know the issues keeping Damien and Levi from truly being together, you recognize why it will be difficult and why Damien looks elsewhere. The writing is direct and clear; dialogue feels realistic and the story keeps you guessing throughout each chapter.
I enjoyed it and will be picking up another of the author’s books to try in the next few weeks.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Book Review: Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict

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Book Review: 4 out of 5 stars to Carnegie’s Maid, a historical fiction novel set to be published in January 2018 by Marie Benedict.

carnie.jpg

Why This Book 
I saw this show up on NetGalley and wanted to read something about the Carnegie family. I’ve been on a hunt to read/learn more about all the “tycoons” of America, curious about all the connections between them. I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction, so I requested this one and was approved. I picked it up last month because of a trip to the Vanderbilt Estate, even though it’s a different family. Wanted to immerse myself in the culture before the trip.

Plot, Characters & Setting 
Andrew Carnegie, a leading member of one of America’s tycoon families, has settled in Pittsburgh with his mother and brother. A woman who leaves Ireland to help earn money to send her family back home, learns that the lady’s maid hired for Mrs. Carnegie has died during the Atlantic voyage. She takes her place and becomes Clara Kelly, despite not having all the knowledge a lady’s maid should have. She learns quickly, befriends some of the other staff, even fights with a few. Over time, she convinces everyone she is a good maid, but there is much more to her than they realize; she’s got strong business acumen and become a confidante of sorts to Mrs. Carnegie’s son, Andrew. Their relationship grows and begins to cause a few folks to question what is going on in the Carnegie household. This is a story about the relationship between the Carnegie family and their staff, love between two unexpected souls and the vicious rules of society.

Approach & Style 
I read the Kindle version on my iPad over 3 days. It is about 250 pages with short chapters, told from the perspective of Mrs. Carnegie’s maid during the 1860s in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, America.

Strengths 
The story is simple and complex, quite beautifully told from the maid’s perspective. Only she’s so much more than a maid, and you can hear every bit of pain and love in her voice. Benedict does a fantastic job at transporting us to the setting of the story, which makes it a strong connection. It’s a slow-build to see and feel the love, but quite believable.

I learned a bit about how Carnegie grew to fame and fortune. The book has made me curious to know how much of this story is true, hence why I am on the lookout for a biography on him and the family. A good author makes that happen… thanks, Ms. Benedict!

We only see a glimpse (less than ten years) of the life between these characters, then it jumps to when they are much older. I loved seeing a future glance rather than everything that happened over the years after Andrew and Clara met. Usually I don’t like missing details, but in this story, it worked quite well.

Concerns 
The writing is a little clunky at times; sometimes it’s as it should be, given the story takes place 150 years ago. But on a few occasions, I thought simpler phrases or imagery would have helped with the complexity in the differences between the time period and today.

Author & Other Similar Books 
This is the author’s second book, as she has a debut titled ‘The Other Einstein.’ I don’t know a lot about it, but I am curious to check out the description to see if it’s something I’d want to read.

I read a bunch of historical fiction and have encountered books like this before; however, seeing it about a famous American family, and learning of a potential ‘hidden’ relationship, was different and exciting.

Final Thoughts 
Good read. Quick. Informative. I liked the style. Characters well-drawn. Matches the style of the time period. Overall, better than average.

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

365 Challenge: Day 214 – Alert (Are you an author?)

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Alert: a message notification for people to pay attention if you are an author

alert

 

As many of you know from reading my blog, and hopefully not thinking I’m posting too much about it, I published my debut novel this week. It is called Watching Glass Shatter and you can read more about it or purchase it @ http://mybook.to/WGS; however, that’s not why today’s 365 Daily Challenge post is about the word ‘alert’ but instead because it is time for me to give back a little to a select group of my followers. Given how hard it is (I now know!) to publish and market a novel, I’d like to help out my fellow authors by building a new weekly segment on my blog called “Author Alert.” Let me explain…

It is extremely critical for both new and established authors to get as many book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads (and other sites) as often and as soon as possible after their books are released. It helps with marketing, ratings and sales, as I am learning. I’d like to establish a stronger team of authors on my blog who can support one another and share news and tips. On the flip side, I don’t want to be repetitive with my 365 Daily Challenge posts, so this gives me an opportunity to find a word that represents the author and blog about them, similar to my former “Ryder Recommends A Blogger” segment which finished up in August. I was running out of words and had to come up with a new idea!

In the future, I may start up the Recommended Blogger segment again, or run another segment for highlighting other bloggers trying to promote their products / services (e.g. artists, services, etc.), but I’m starting with authors since that’s familiar to me. Since I am at just about 3k followers right now, I hope I can provide opportunities for others as so many of you have given me in the last year. Beginning in a few weeks, the 365 Daily Challenge will host “Author Alert Friday” where I will blog about a published author who is following me on WordPress (and has been for a while). A few ground rules…

  1. If you are not following me but read this and begin following me, I am happy to share more information about you on Author Alert Fridays after we’ve had enough time to get to know one another.
  2. If you are an unpublished writer, let’s chat separately about other ways I can help. This particular segment is for published authors at the moment, but I can help others learn the ropes as I did in different ways.
  3. I may not have read your book, but I will do my best to incorporate it into my upcoming reading list. Even without reading it, we can still promote you!
  4. I want these to be informative and fun, but not lengthy… a teaser to sell the very best of YOU.
  5. I’m open to suggestions, so please feel free to throw out other ideas for my 365 Daily Challenge.

If you’re interested, comment here or send me a private message on any of my social media accounts. I hope we have a good response rate, but if not, we’ll tweak the format and/or keep it as a short run. Start messaging me and I’ll prepare a schedule. And if you are reading my book, please leave a review!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

My Novel: Father Figure (Week 12 – Sunday, October 8th, 2017)

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Welcome Back! When I last updated everyone, I had sent a very early alpha/beta read to several people to review while I was away on vacation. I returned earlier this week and am ready to get back into the swing of things. I had to take a short hiatus for two days since returning so I could focus on my first novel, ‘Watching Glass Shatter,’ as a few things came up (cover and final editing!); however, I squeezed in a couple of days focus on ‘Father Figure’ towards the end of the week. Below is the current week’s status:

writer

Status:  Sunday, October 8, 2017 – Week #12

  • Round 1 Edit – The First Draft
    • I read all of the feedback from the alpha/beta reading team. I am very appreciative to everyone who took the time to read my draft, answer the ten primary questions, suggest areas for improvement and fix some of the grammar/spelling items I missed. Overall, it was a successful process that has definitely provided me clear direction on what I need to focus on next.
    • I broke down all the suggestions into three key areas: (1) easy fixes, (2) mid-level fixes and (3) hard fixes. By this morning, I’ve completed all the (1) easy and (2) mid-level fixes in the next version. What remains are the (3) hard fixes — approximately 20 areas that need to be thought through before I can begin any additional changes. More on these items in the area below for the upcoming week’s plans.

 

Next Steps: Plan for Upcoming Week

  • Focus on the ’20’ areas for improvement. I will map out a plan for each of the items and introduce 5 of the 20 changes next week. I will work on the other 15 the following week. My goal is to be done with the next version before October 31st so that I can send out for the next ‘beta read’ version.
  • Key ares to focus on include:
    • I’m considering rolling back from a 1998/2018 time period to a 1983/2003 time period. This allows me more flexibility in terms of character arc matching background setting — to help with a few rationale and believe-ability concerns.
    • I’m considering moving the location setting for one arc from Ohio to Mississippi. It fits better with my character arc and background setting and will help me accomplish more realistic portrayals of what’s happening.
    • Some of the background in the first few chapters needs to be condensed. It’s a bit wordy and subsequently delays me from getting to the good part of the story action in an early enough fashion.
    • Refine a few character personality issues. A few readers loved them, a few thought there were some discrepancies in personality and actions.
    • Match voice and dialogue for each character more distinctively and consistently. Some areas were very tight. Some were a little weak. A few folks thought the characters were quite alive, jumping off the page. A few thought the dialogue wasn’t as unique as it needs to be.
    • The ending was a little too rushed. It needed a few more chapters to flush out the reactions after the big climax scenes.

What’s on the author’s mind?

  • Although I’ve been through the alpha/beta read process in my first novel, Watching Glass Shatter, I learned a lot in my approach for my second novel, Father Figure. Given I rushed the last few days to leave for vacation, it all came together about as well as I’d hoped; however, it could have been better had I made some additional time to prep everyone. I should have had more clear questions and provided a stronger picture to the readers of what areas still needed work. Unfortunately, it left a few folks thinking it was a finished product, and others thought it was supposed to be error-free. Once I clarified, the process went a lot smoother. I have a good plan for the next round!
  • It’s amazing to see how people’s opinions can range on the same material. 1 beta reader loved the first 5 to 6 chapters, but thought the rest was not as good. Another beta felt the first 5 to 6 chapters moved too slowly, but highlighted the rest as fantastic. My biggest takeaway, besides agreeing that everyone is probably right, is that I have to get to the crux of what the readers liked and disliked, so I can decide what my intention is versus what actually happened in the story. I love this process. I love hearing why someone thought a particular scene was brilliant and another person felt the dialogue was off, or the setting was weak or the plot was not believable.  As a writer, it’s a challenge to apply what I hear to the direction I want to take. I am grateful for such strong and open-minded beta readers, as it has been very helpful to hear all sides and angles.
  • I’m really excited to dive into these changes next week. I have so many creative juices flowing right now, I don’t know what to do with myself!

 

Side Note: ‘Watching Glass Shatter’ is nearly complete. I will have a COVER REVEAL and LAUNCH DATE within the next week. Look for the post soon!!!

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Summary of Father Figure (only read if you’re new to the book)

  • One young girl’s need to escape the mundane life she’s grown up in and another young girl’s quest to find her father, unaware of all the circumstances they’ve both been placed in due to decisions and actions occurring nearly 20 years ago and that both women have made in the present. How well do you really know your parents? Do they truly understand you? Can you ever truly escape the past?
  • A contemporary fiction novel set in two time periods with two primary characters:
    • 1998 – Amalia Graeme, about to turn 18, attends college, leaving behind a mother with whom she had a difficult relationship. While Amalia has a boyfriend, Carter, she’s secretly attracted to an older professor, Dr. Jonah West. She begins an affair with him and realizes she must come clean to her boyfriend. After she tells the boyfriend, they have a huge fight and she leaves to find Jonah, who she thinks can comfort her. Along the path, she encounters a stranger who will change her life.
    • 2018 – Brianna Porter, 18, who lives in NYC, is struggling with understanding who she is.  She longs to escape her surroundings and leaves for college in Pennsylvania where she begins dating one of her professors, probably looking for a father figure, as she’s never met her real father. Brianna has always accepted her mother’s story that her father was a military man with whom she had a one-night stand, later finding herself pregnant with no way to find him. When Brianna uncovers her mother’s old journal, she learns a shocking secret about her father and stumbles upon a few facts which could completely change the future.

 

About Me
I am a writer. I am have signed a contract for a publisher on my first book, Watching Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish and submit it to a publisher in November, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

365 Challenge: Day 208 – Clone

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Clone: duplicate copy doing the work ’cause Dad is losing his mind!

clone

Hey, it’s Ryder. Not my normal day, but Dad needed help. He’s freaking out because the publisher sent the final copy for editing for ‘Watching Glass Shatter.’ He’s busily reviewing as they want to start pre-sales launch in the next week. He’ll be back on the weekend to post. For now, he’s got clones working around the clock on all 350 pages. Thanks for telling him what to do, Roda @ GrowingSelf. It’s helped him get more done.  Peace Out!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.